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Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details

The embargo on details about EverQuest Next seems to have just expired, as Massively has gone all blabby about what they know about the MMORPG revamp, which is a lot, since they've gotten some face time with the game and its developers over the past few weeks. They go into detail about gameplay, discussing quests, combat, and the consequences of player choices. They say the game will be very much a sandbox, and while everything is based on the original EverQuest, EQ Next will be new and different in so many ways that newbies will not be at a disadvantage compared with EQ vets. Probably most significant is that the game engine will now be voxel-based:

First, everything in EverQuest Next is made of voxels -- the ground, the plants, buildings, everything. What's a voxel? Think Minecraft cubes, only you can actually form and shape each bit in a very organic way. Just look at the image embedded in this article -- do they seem blocky to you? Nope.

So why is having a world made of voxels important to you? Because it means everything in the world can be destroyed! If you wanted a way to affect the world, just envision actually blowing up a bridge to keep mobs from getting to you or collapsing a tunnel so no one else can find the cavern and quests underneath. And these changes are permanent. Isn't true permanency in games something many a sandbox fan has just been longing for? Well, this is only the beginning; permanence is a theme throughout the entire game. Of course, just because everything can be destroyed doesn't mean the devs will let you! As Georgeson explained to me, if some areas weren't restricted, Qeynos would become a parking lot in no time thanks to all you pyromaniacs. Keep in mind, though, such restrictions are only on players, not mobs.

The second compositional aspect is the fact that the world of EQ Next is not restricted to its surface. I am not talking about a few scattered underground caverns scattered; I am talking about a completely designed world from crust to core. Since you can start digging pretty much anywhere, you will actually find content as you go deeper and deeper and deeper still. This layered content isn't necessarily static, either. Lower levels are procedurally generated and can be closed off by dev-induced earthquakes or crop up elsewhere.

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46. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 7, 2013, 01:07 s1mon75
 
EQ:Next ... the real reason why Titan was scrapped in its current form.

I was an Evercrack tragic. Then I spent 8+ years on Wow.

Blizzard won the Wow V's EQ2 war. But I feel that Blizzard just got a massive smack in its face from SOE in the EQ:Next Vs Titan war.

Good times ahead!~
 
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45. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 3, 2013, 13:00 HorrorScope
 
NewMaxx wrote on Aug 3, 2013, 03:28:
HorrorScope wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 21:42:
But now they have to keep track of every voxel and keep everyone's system seeing the same thing, like millions of other players on the screen at once, where all games choke when even 100 players are on the screen keeping track of.

They could use a simplified grid system with procedural mapping to alleviate that problem. That way, every individual player might see a slightly different deformation, but it will have the same impact because it is only one way on the actual server, saving a lot of accounting. Not saying they did that, just saying it would be more practical - they'd have a center point and preset types of deformation based on, say, source cause, angle, whatever, then just generate something similar within the client rather than the server. Although honestly this helps more with the physics than the visual representation. Regardless, something that's already been done with Love is similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verse_protocol

Agreed to the extent of the debris, the final result of the demolition has to be identical though as these are gateways to new areas. I don't know how it could be any different. So at least the final result has to be synched up on sever/clients in full. This is a whole new area to keep syched up that isn't today. I say it's borderline total BS of happening.

What you suggest is things like COH discussed years ago with their physics update, it was client side and the results were non-consequential, EQ Next's level of demolition sounds totally consequential.

As to your link, yes this is doable, but with a lot of players already being tracked, enemies to and now landscape deformations and all at 60 fps... this becomes an issue it would seem. The link you sent could update once per second on a dozen systems and be just fine. I didn't see at what speeds they were claiming to keep everyone in synch.

Then they discuss these Dynamic Events... using an example of everyone would be here building and defending. We know how that story ends. At best it ends with tons of instances of the same location. Now they have to keep track of deformation results on all pc's. Good luck. To me it seems like the game is 5 years out to me.
 
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44. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 3, 2013, 10:47 Smellfinger
 
It's definitely going to be a performance hog if it's as voxel-heavy as they claim.

The lead designer confirmed that you will be limited to two sets of four skills: one set for your weapon, the other for your class. Just enough to be playable on a PlayStation controller.

EverQuest Next Landmark is a content creation tool. They're essentially outsourcing content creation to the players and putting the best stuff in the game. Very clever and very devious. Free labor is the cheapest labor of all.

Overall, I'm getting more a World of Minecraft vibe than an EverQuest vibe.
 
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43. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 3, 2013, 03:28 NewMaxx
 
HorrorScope wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 21:42:
But now they have to keep track of every voxel and keep everyone's system seeing the same thing, like millions of other players on the screen at once, where all games choke when even 100 players are on the screen keeping track of.

They could use a simplified grid system with procedural mapping to alleviate that problem. That way, every individual player might see a slightly different deformation, but it will have the same impact because it is only one way on the actual server, saving a lot of accounting. Not saying they did that, just saying it would be more practical - they'd have a center point and preset types of deformation based on, say, source cause, angle, whatever, then just generate something similar within the client rather than the server. Although honestly this helps more with the physics than the visual representation. Regardless, something that's already been done with Love is similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verse_protocol
 
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42. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 3, 2013, 00:58 Xil
 
Axis wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 20:09:
I can see it now... You walk around Freeport picking up quests, and the second you walk out you have to play Q*bert just to kill some rats...

q*bert was in qeynos
 
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41. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 21:42 HorrorScope
 
Watched that whole thing, had a couple conversations with others.

BELIEVE IT WHEN WE SEE IT!

There is so much promised there in which other games have tried and failed. There are so many things... I don't even want to start typing it all. But now they have to keep track of every voxel and keep everyone's system seeing the same thing, like millions of other players on the screen at once, where all games choke when even 100 players are on the screen keeping track of.

The went with the GW2 marketing model and then times it by 10. HYPE!!! Get everyone in a frenzy etc. For this to work as they say, would be a complete reinvention of gaming. The good news is I'll expect 10% of what was said and base my enjoyment from that.

Many of these ideas sound so much more realistic if you could make personal servers and have say 1-32 players in it, not millions over years.

BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT!

The programmers have to be drinking profusely with every word this guy says.
 
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40. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 20:27 Agent.X7
 
Very excited by the possibilities. We'll see if they can deliver. The only thing I detested was the Disney look of the characters. It just looked out of place, as others have said. I need to find a a link to someplace that recorded the stream, because I had to leave partway through to make it to the bank.  
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39. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 20:09 Axis
 
I can see it now... You walk around Freeport picking up quests, and the second you walk out you have to play Q*bert just to kill some rats...  
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Yours truly,

Axis
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38. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 19:53 NKD
 
Nate wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 19:36:
I'm wondering if this is heavily instanced because of the voxel use. So its a MMO where all the excitement is played in a small group.

Interestingly, so far they haven't mentioned any instancing. I'm sure there will be some for dungeons and raids, but all the destructive crap they've talked about thus far happens in the open world and much of it (the underground stuff) is procedurally generated and regenerated so you can explore the open world and find new stuff everyday.

Also is it just me or did the human female look a lot like Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite?
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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37. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 19:36 Nate
 
I'm wondering if this is heavily instanced because of the voxel use. So its a MMO where all the excitement is played in a small group.  
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36. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 19:18 Mad Max RW
 
I had no interest in this before (and I still won't ever play it because I hate MMOs) but it's really cool seeing voxels being used. Finally someone is taking a chance and it's not a tiny indie game.  
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35. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 19:11 Axis
 
Compared to most AAA games, EQNext looks extremely promising.

You can forget about wildstar, just another drop in the on-rails mmo bucket unfortunately.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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34. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 19:07 Rossafur
 
The bits on public quests that actually *permanently* change the game world, and dynamic AI that actually means mobs will move to different areas and in different numbers based upon what's going on in the world rather than static camps is pretty neat... if it actually pans out like described.

[url=]http://youtu.be/yWRcr1GeDcY[/url]

[url=]http://youtu.be/Xs1EtESFC34[/url]
 
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33. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:58 NKD
 
Rossafur wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 18:45:
(Sad 29 year old gamer, ha)

I'm almost 31 and I've avoided getting quite that jaded yet. We'll see about what happens when I hit 40!
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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32. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:45 Rossafur
 
Don't mind me too much, just some major nostalgia rage. EQ was my first MMO, it was definitely "EverCrack" for me, and nothing will likely ever be able to recreate, let alone top, those memories.
The illusion of a giant living world (where even in lower level areas there were big baddies to be on the look out for that you couldn't hope to take on until much, much later) and the community feel when popping around zones looking for a camp with an open spot, asking/paying wizards or druids for rides elsewhere, or high level characters for buffs were probably the highest points, though.
(Sad 29 year old gamer, ha)
 
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31. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:37 HorrorScope
 
I'll dig a lot deeper... but the first thing that comes to my mind is massive griefing and the like. If you can blow everything up, someone will blow everything up and leave you with a bland desert. And if you are the millionth player through, what will be left. And if it comes back, they'll knock it down again, even if it were just Blizzard employees.

This comment was edited on Aug 2, 2013, 18:44.
 
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30. Re: Voxel-based Aug 2, 2013, 18:36 Shataan
 
I remember Delta Force 2s Voxel Grass. BEST grass that Novalogic ever produced in a game. It actually worked at long distances. And I`d rather have grass that works for vis cover at any distance, than pretty grass that disapears after 30 feet.  
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29. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:34 jdreyer
 
NKD wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 16:56:
jdreyer wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 16:55:
I haven't watched the stream yet, so maybe they covered this, but how do you prevent the psychopaths from permanently turning everything to rubble and nuking all the dungeon doorways in the first month?

The basic deformable terrain and stuff heals back after a while. The bigger changes come out of the Rallying Calls (which are like 3 month long public quests, think AQ gate opening in WoW only much more detailed and grand) and are huge endeavors that change things on a large scale.

So, if I collapse all those pretty desert arches, and cave in all the dungeon doorways, you're saying that the arches will reform and the entrances uncover over time? I can see that if I knock down all the castle walls (ostensibly the NPCs rebuild them) and even for dungeon doorways (the inhabitants uncover them?) but would the terrain also fix itself? Just curious how this would all work. Intrigued by a permanent world.
 
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28. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:33 WyldKat
 
Fion wrote on Aug 2, 2013, 16:44:
I'm also hot happy that the game is largley quest based. Quest-based advancement belongs in a themepark, not a sandbox.

Did you watch the same video as the rest of the class?

They mentioned time and time again about how mob AI will effect how they behave and various events will emerge from that behavior. They also mentioned the world events and how it would be possible for those events to play out differently on various servers.
 
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27. Re: Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details Aug 2, 2013, 18:31 Rossafur
 
Hooooooooooly hell am I hating the art style (especially the Kerrans, those are unforgivably ridiculous looking).
Blarrrrrgh. Dreams crushed, would have been better if they just never made another EQ...
I always loved, loved loved the more realistic art style and color palette of EQ and EQ2, (so much atmosphere, so immersive) and the cartoony factor is why I was never able to get into WoW.
 
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